Abortion must be a legal and attainable procedure for women throughout the United States. Abortion is a subject which easily fits into the themes of CORE 1. Abortion pertains to many issues which are involved in CORE 1. CORE 1 analyzes civil rights as well as equal treatment for women in America. Abortion challenges the civil rights of the mother and the fetus which she bears. To deny abortion is denying the mother certain civil rights, but if the fetus is considered a person, then the rights of the fetus are being denied by allowing abortion to be legal.
Abortion has been an element of human life for centuries. It dates back to BC times. Ancient abortions usually consisted of mildly poisoning a pregnant mother. The poison was hoped to be just strong enough to kill the fetus, yet mild enough to keep the woman alive. Also, sometimes women would receive physical blows to their abdomen an effort to kill the fetus. Since both of these methods were very dangerous for women, infanticide was a much more popular form of abortion. Infanticide is grossly just the killing of the baby directly after birth (3 Gilbert). J.
Gilbert, the author of an informative Texas state web-page, states that some time after 1750, a new procedure was introduced to abortion. The new procedure consisted of probing objects through the cervix and into the uterus of the women to accomplish the abortion (4 Gilbert). Laurence Tribe, author of Abortion: The Clash of Absolutes, states that the court case Roe v. Wade revolutionized the legality of abortion. The case set boundaries and regulations illustrating how much power the mother and state possess in deciding whether to abort a pregnancy (12 Tribe).
During the past twenty-five years abortion has become one of the most debated controversies in the Unite States’ history. The issues surrounding abortion strike questions based on ethics, morals, emotions, and law. There are many alternative perspectives from which people can approach the legality and morality of abortion. But basically there are pro-life people and pro-choice people. People who are pro-choice believe that women hold the right to abort a pregnancy, but people who are pro-life believe that abortion is wrong and unjust to the fetus. When pondering issues surrounding abortion, many questions come to mind.
Is a fetus a human being? Is abortion physically and mentally safe for women? And finally, should abortion be legal? It is only after exploring these questions can a person justify their position on abortion. A major question which strikes at the heart of abortion legality and morality is: When is an embryo considered a life or human being? Many people argue that life begins at the point of conception. Bonnie Steinbock, an author who considers herself an expert on fetuses and their legal rights, says, “Conception is the joining of the male and female sex cells which have twenty-three chromosomes each.
The process of conception takes twelve hours, at which time the egg is completely fertilized and becomes known as a zygote. Distinct and unique characteristics of a person are determined at the time of conception. After the time of conception, until death, nothing will be added or removed from the genetic make-up of an individual (200 Steinbock). In other words, everything physically and chemically is determined shortly after the point of conception. Being alive means that an object grows, develops, and matures. A zygote, from the time of conception grows, develops parts of its body, and replaces its own dying cells.
The heart of the zygote begins beating just eighteen days after conception (198 Steinbock). This is often well before the mother even realizes that she is pregnant. After three months, all of the fetus’s organs are formed and all of the bodily systems are working. The fetus can swim, grasp a pointer, move freely in the womb, and excrete urine. If a doctor injects a sweet solution into the fluid surrounding the fetus, the fetus will swallow it because it likes the taste. If a bitter solution is injected, the fetus will realize the taste and quit swallowing (196 Steinbock).
The previous examples are evidence enough that life begins at conception, or at the time the fetus’s heart begins to beat. Others believe that the life of the fetus is just merely the life of the woman until the fetus is born. Those people who believe that life does not start until birth believe that, without the life-style and habits of the mother, the fetus would not survive. In 1973, the US Supreme Court ruled over a case called Roe v. Wade. This case described the legality of a fetus and the conditions which apply to the mothers rights as well.
The ruling stated that the fetus is merely a living appendage of the mother until the completion of the second trimester. But once the third trimester begins, the fetus gains civil rights which guarantee life, liberty, and property. A woman can only abort a fetus in the third trimester if it poses a direct threat to the health and well being of the woman (189 Tribe). In conclusion, the Roe v. Wade case developed the needed boundaries to determine the legal rights of the mother and fetus. Is abortion physically and mentally safe for the mother? Do the advantages of abortion outweigh the disadvantages?
Ft. John L. Grady, medical examiner for the Florida State Attorney’s office, says, “I believe it can be stated with certainty that abortion causes more deep-seated guilt, depression, and mental illness then it ever cures” (38 Novak). Grady is drawing upon his years of experience as a medical examiner and concludes that when a woman aborts a fetus, she is causing more pain and problems mentally and socially than if she bears the child. This mental anguish and guilt may be only half of the problem women face though. Women who receive abortions also may have physical problems as well.
Women who have an abortion in the third trimester are at a greater risk of becoming sterile than women who bear their child (157 Steinbock). Women realize these consequences, but they still believe that an abortion’s advantages outweigh its disadvantages. These women may face years of depression, guilt, and physical damage, but they still freely choose to abort their pregnancy. Should abortion be legal? According to the Supreme Court’s ruling in 1973 on the Roe v. Wade case, abortion must be legal (82 Tribe). If the fetus is considered an appendage to the woman who bears it, the fourteenth amendment must hold true for women.
Thus, women are given the right to receive an abortion (82 Tribe). The amendment states that, “No person or state may deprive a person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of the law” (475 US Constitution). This states that the woman cannot be denied an abortion because it would violate her life and property. The state cannot interfere with the private lives of US citizens (475 US Constitution). Denying women the right to choose an abortion, is denying rights and is discriminating against women. There are many reasons for which women desire to have an abortion.
Contraceptives sometimes fail. Women are periodically raped and impregnated by corrupt and deranged men. Demented fathers may also rape their daughters which is called incest. For these reasons alone abortion must be legal. These unfair and undesirable pregnancies can prevent women from keeping jobs, feeding their families, and from creating a favorable life-style for themselves. Pregnancy and child birth may determine and greatly influence whether or not a woman can begin or finish her education leading to a successful and gratifying career.
In conclusion, abortion must be legal because women should not have to sacrifice their lives at the hand of a failed contraceptive or a terrible rape. Women should not be forced to submit themselves to a life of hardships because of an unwanted pregnancy. To do so would be discrimination. But, there are still other people who believe that abortion should be illegal. Some people say that abortion should not be legal because it is murder. Some people interpret the fourteenth amendment differently. They believe that the life and liberty is being denied from the fetus.
Although the law has set boundaries on when a fetus should be considered a citizen, there are people who believe that life starts before birth no matter what the law states. I am sure these people wonder why the fetus doesn’t have rights as well as the mother. Abortion author Faye Ginsberg states that, never in the history of the United States has the state granted one citizen the right to have another killed to solve one’s problems (156 Ginsberg). But, people who consider a fetus to be a life must also believe that Constitutional rights are being denied from the fetus.
Abortion, to people who that believe a fetus is a citizen, seems as though a human life is being terminated because someone else justifies the cause with reasons of their own. How can the legality of abortion ever be determined if one cannot determine whether or not a fetus is considered a human being? Since every person has individual beliefs and thoughts on the livelihood of the fetus, the legality of abortion must be determined on the circumstances of the pregnancy as well one’s belief to what a fetus really is.
In order to intelligently formulate a stance on abortion, one must come to conclusions and formulate answers on some aspects of abortion. Is a fetus a human being? Yes, a fetus is indeed a human being livening in the womb of its mother. Upon conception, the fetus is uniquely distinct and different than any other human being (200 Steinbock). The fetus is like a snowflake; there are no two alike. Very shortly after conception the fetus takes on very human characteristics. The fetus thinks, moves, dreams, and feels pain just like you and I.
Yes, the fetus can feel pain; it can feel itself being murdered by the abortion (200 Steinbock). Another important question one must answer is: Who’s life is the fetus’s? Is the fetus merely a living appendage of the woman, or is the woman an incubator for a life of an independent human being? This question can in no way be answered by practical means. It can only be determined on a personal and moral level. The court case of Roe v. Wade in 1973 set up legal regulations and standards for which abortion cases can be approached.
Although case does not determine when the fetus is considered a human, but it outlines a basis for when a fetus can be legally considered a citizen. The case determined that for the first two trimesters of a pregnancy the woman has a right to abort the fetus for her won personal reasons, but she must go to a certified clinic. Fetuses in the third trimester, according to law, are considered to have undeniable Constitutional rights as well as the mother. But, a woman may abort a fetus in the third trimester if she is in personal danger due to the fetus (188 Tribe).
In conclusion, there are two angles to approach determining whether a fetus is a citizen or not. The law’s method of declaring the citizenship of the fetus is controversial to many people. These people are pro-life and most believe that the fetus is a life upon conception. Is abortion physically safe for women? Abortion is often times physically safe for women. According to Laurence H. Tribe’s, Abortion, The Clash of Absolutes, abortions in the first trimester are actually physically safer for a woman than going through with the pregnancy and having a child. Tribe’s book also says, “Within only a few year of the Roe v.
Wade case, the death rate for women undergoing legal abortions was ten times lower than that for women who had illegal abortions and five items lower than that for women who went through with child birth” (208 Tribe). This statistic proves that with abortions being legal, women are at a lesser risk of injury through abortion. Although the physical effects of abortion are not very detrimental, the mental effects of abortion in women can be devastating. According to The Eagle and Cross, a pro-life organization which supports freedom, women often suffer extreme depression due to the guilt of having an abortion (4 The Eagle and Cross).
Having a child may effect the rest of a woman’s life, but aborting a child may also have an effect on the woman’s life as well. Women must weigh the advantages and disadvantages of having an abortion and choose the less severe and personally harmful of the two alternatives. Should abortion be legal? Abortion should definitely be legal. Women should not let a fertilized egg dictate the way in which they spend the rest of their lives. A pregnancy should not be able to have the power to radically alter the social and professional life of a woman.
If a woman cannot choose an abortion she must take a leave of absence from her daily life in order to have a child and take care of it. For many women this may mean quitting school or leaving their career. These women would be forced to a disadvantage in society because they were denied control of their bodies. Since having and caring for a child is an expensive procedure, poor women may be forced into welfare. This not only burdens and embarrasses the mother, but it also forces the rest of society to support a child which was not wanted by the mother in the first place.
Also, the social life of a woman who bears a child is greatly altered. Women who do not give their children up for adoption must constantly care and provide for their children which greatly effects the social life of the mother. Women who are forced into having an unwanted child are forced to a disadvantage if abortions are not legal. If abortions were illegal many women would suffer. Instead of bearing unwanted children, many women would turn to illegal and underground abortions. These underground abortions are often times unsafe, and unsanitary, causing women to submit themselves to many life-threatening dangers.
Since abortions were deemed legal through the Roe v. Wade case, the death rate for women undergoing legal abortions were ten times lower then that for women who had illegal abortions (232 Tribe). Legal abortions are in sanitary and government regulated clinics. At the clinics there is a focus on the safety and well-being of the mother. If a woman is forced into having a child rather than having an abortion, would she be a good mother? Why should a woman be forced into having a child that she does not want? If abortions were illegal, laws would force unfit mothers into bearing undesirable children.
Forcing birth would not benefit either the mother or the child. The goal of parents is to offer their children the best possible chances for success in their children’s lives. Children who come from mothers who were denied an abortion are not likely to be given chances of success from their mothers. Thus, denying abortions, may cause a negative and undesirable childhood for children everywhere. Answering the question about the legality of abortion is a losing cause. There are too many instances where questions cannot be answered due to diverse moral beliefs.
Yes, of course abortion should be legal, but society is focusing on the wrong concept. Birth control may be the root of all abortion problems and it should be addressed more so than abortion. If issues concerning birth control are addressed on a more aggressive level, the frequency of abortions would decline greatly. Thus with more and better uses of birth control, the number of incidental pregnancies would plummet. In ending, abortion must be legal. Women should not be forced to let a rape or an incidental pregnancy dictate the rest of their lives. Denying abortions unjustly sets women at a disadvantage in life.
Denying women the right to abort their pregnancies would cause wide spread use of under ground abortions which poses threats to the health and well-being of women who seek abortions. Next, unfit mothers and uncaring mothers should not be forced into having a child which they do not desire. Finally, when addressing abortion, a greater concentration on birth control must be addressed as well. There are pro-life people and there are pro-choice people, but nobody is pro-abortion. Nobody wants to end the “miracle of life,” but to ensure the safety and Constitutional rights of women, abortion must be legal.